Sunday, 30 January 2011

Focus on.....

Focus on.......Dots N Stripes

Dot n Stripes are quite different from the majority of online fabric stores, they specialise in European fabrics, patterns, magazines and accessories.

They are the only UK stockists of Hilco, Stenzo, Bizzkids and Polytex fabrics, Mamu Design and Farbenmix sewing patterns. They also stock Ottobre Design, Bizzkids and F.I.M.I magazines which you would be hard pushed to find elsewhere.

They have a great range of colour children’s fabrics, such as this gorgeous blue corduroy pictured, priced at just £6.99 a metre. One thing that I love is that they have a section dedicated to sewing for boys, both patterns and fabrics. As a mum of a young boy I find many shops tend to cater towards girls so the boy’s section on Dot N Stripes is a welcome change.

You can also find a full range of haberdashery on the site threads, zips, ribbons buttons, etc along with some cute appliqué patches like the one pictured above.   They have just had the new range of summer fabrics from Hilco arrive, you can find them here.

Visit the Dots n Stripes website to see the full range

Friday, 28 January 2011

Guest Bloggers Wanted: apply within

We loved doing our alphabet of sewing last year, and we gather you all liked it too.  I contemplated whether to re-run the alphabet again with new topics for each letter but I think there would be certain letters we might get a bit stuck on!

So this year I would love to have some guest bloggers passing on sewing tips and techniques to our readers.  The subject matter can be anything of your choosing, and the post can be as long or short as you like.  Some tips are very simple and may just be a matter of a few lines, whereas a you may want to pass on a technique that might take a lot of text and several photos to explain it properly.   You can of course include more than tip or technique one in you post.

Even if you are new to sewing i'm sure you may have picked up a few useful tips - be it where to buy certain products or which sewing courses or websites you've enjoyed so come share them with us all!

As with the alphabet of sewing all contributors get a link to their site/blog/shop and a paragraph about them/their business.  So if you are interested please drop me an e-mail:

We have our first guest blog post coming next week, with advice about selling your handmade goodies online.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Focus on.....

Focus on....Original Stitch

Original Stitch offer Beautiful, unique and homemade gifts and toys, made from vintage and recycled fabric, by OriginalStitchers working in Britain.

Their products include bunting, a pencil roll, a netbook bag, a dolly sling (below), various sized backpacks and even an I-pad slipcase (right). Because they are environmentally friendly and use recycled fabrics each item is a unique one off fabric wise.

You can buy the items pre-made by one of the gang of Original Stitchers (more about them on the site here) or you can download a pattern and make your own. Priced from just £2.00 the patterns can be instantly downloaded as a pdf document so you can get sewing immediately.

Original Stitch even have their own forum where you can get tips and advice as well as how to guides. It is called the Original Stitch Cafe and can be found here. This year Original Stitch would welcome more designs from stitchers as well as guest bloggers for their blog so if you have any ideas please do get in touch.

You can visit the Original Stitch website here:

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Focus on.....

Focus on SewingCafe

The SewingCafe offer a great range of needlecraft kits including cross stitch, long stitch, soft toy kits and tapestry kits. They launched in August of last year with 100’s of kits available and have been expanding their range ever since. Brand names on the site include Anchor, Maia, Dimensions, Cewec, Twilleys, Royal Paris, and Vervaco. They also sell through their e-bay shop:  

The latest section which they are building on is their latch hook rug kits. They have a range of Disney designs (such as the one pictured) as well as more classical designs. They make a great gifts for friends and families (you can impress them with your skills!) or for your own home so you can enjoy your handiwork for years to come.

Another new addition to the site is a range of cross stitch clock kits as pictured below to the left. That’s right, a cross stitch design along with full working clock mechanism, to create your own cross stitch clock.

You can also buy sewing accessories such as scissors and sewing kits. Plus there are bargains to be had in their clearance section here. What’s more there is FREE UK DELIVERY!

Follow SewingCafe on Twitter - - for details of new products, special offers and discount codes.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Z is for Zip

Z for Zips

Image from

Where would be without the humble zip? So much quicker and easier to fasten than buttons most of us wear an item with a zip on a daily basis.

Whitcomb Judson was responsible for inventing the clasp locker (he is pictured to the right, his clasp locker below) which loosely resembles the modern zip. It was patented in 1893 but had little success in the market.

Almost 20 years later the Universal Fastener Company’s head designer Gideon Sundback was given the task of improving Judson’s design and designed the modern zipper in 1913.

Image from
Judson's Clasp locker

The actual name ‘zipper’ came from the B.F Goodrich compant who used Sundback’s fastener on rubber boots, where their referred to it as a zipper and the name stuck, often abbreviated to ‘zip’.

But that’s enough of the history side of things, zips have often posed a problem to sewists when it comes to the fitting of them. So i’ve gathered together a few useful tutorials to help you successfully fit that zip.

Concealed Zips

We have a great tutorial on site for fitting invisible/concealed zips written by Julia of Sew Curvy Corsetry:

There is another good tutorial on the Clever Nesting site:  

If bag making is more your thing then check out this zipper tutorial on the U handbag blog:

Image from Sew Mama Sew

There is also a video tutorial for fitting concealed zips that can be found on the Sewing Machine World Online website here:

Standard Zip

Sewing Machine world online (who worked with Suffolk Sewing School) to produce their video tutorials, also have a tutorial for inserting a simple zip:

Plus there’s a good tutorial over on the Sew Mama Sew blog here:  

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Goodbye 2010, hello 2011

Happy New Year

Sorry for the lack of posts for the last couple of weeks i've had horriffic flu and the last post in the Alphabet of sewing has not come through yet.  Hopefully it will be here by the weekend, if not i'll write it myself.  I've really enjoyed having such great guest bloggers on this blog and I hope you have too.  Working on the next idea as we speak....

I thought this would be a great chance to pick up on some of the most popular pots of last year to allow the new followers to see the best of what they have missed:

1) Protect Your Ideas

Number one on the list with the most views overall is the article I wrote back in May on how to protect your designs and ideas.  There have been a few high profile cases of design theft this year so it is well worth learning how you can try to stop people from stealing your ideas.

2) I is for Interfacing

In second place a winning post from our guest blogger Leah from Sewbox describes what interfacing is and how to use it, useful for any sewer. 

You'll find the post here:

3) Focus On.....Sew Curvy
Third place in our top 5 is a profile of Sew Curvy Corsets, an online store stocking corset making supplies and patterns.

The post is here:

Hopefully this won't make Julia from Sew curvy's head swell lol, but she was also in 5th Place with her post on C for Corsets which she kindly wrote for the alphabet of sewing.  I decided to include both of these under the one number to avoid duplication.

4) J is For Jelly Roll

The Alphabet of sewing certainly provided many popular posts including J is for Jelly rolls which was written by Amanda of Handmade by Button. Find out what a jelly roll is and what to do with it by reading the post here:

5) Bags, Bags, Bags

In 5th position is a post I wrote about bags and bag making with links to some bag making tutorials and places to buy bag patterns. I have to say this was in the days before I discovered U-Handbag and Lisa Lam's Bag Making Bible or they would have been included in the post too.

Hope you have all enjoyed 2010's posts as much as me and the guest bloggers have enjoyed writing them. Here's to another year of blogging!
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